Friday, 6 July 2012

Marching to the Sound of the Guns...

As I may have (not-so-subtly) alluded to in a previous post, the French have been getting tired of having sand kicked in their faces by patent-leather Wellington boots.  

The general consensus was that reinforcements were necessary for the French cause, and in an effort to get at least a degree in parity in painted units between the allies and the French, the West Tokyo Wargamers (Napoleonic branch) decided to pool together and purchase a painted French brigade from Mabuhay Miniature Painting Service in the Philippines.

The deal with the club was that those of us gaming Napoleonics would each share part of of the cost, with a good portion being paid for by club earnings over the past year.  In order to keep down the cost, I would be doing the basing, and additionally I would supply and add the flags.  

Although it will be residing here at Chez Stavka, the brigade is, and will remain, a club possession.  Should for any reason I move on, it will continue its service in Tokyo with the West Tokyo Wargamers, and my stewardship of the lads will pass to someone else.

Fons over at Mabuhay was great to deal with, and within little over a week of placing the order, I had the box in my hot little hands- four, 36-figure French line infantry battalions!  Amazing turn around time, and I am extremely satisfied with our choice.

Fortunately(?) their arrival coincided with my wife and I both being home and recuperating from a bad case of what the doctor said was a bacterial infection, Pertussis.  At first I had thought this was the name of some Hittite king or other, but it turns out being better known as... Whooping Cough.  

Being highly contagious (not to mention unpleasant), it meant house quarantine for me for a week.  On the plus side, once I got over the worse of the fever and coughing, this gave me a lot of time to get down to work on the figures!

The miniatures themselves were very well packed, two boxes each carefully placed in a foam-lined cardboard box.  
Each miniature was attached by double-sided tape to the floor of the smaller boxes, and the boxes were filled with tiny, very light Styrofoam balls to stop the figures being knocked about.  

Fortunately, Fons puts a big label on the boxes cautioning that a vacuum cleaner should be on standby, which was a really good idea when I came to open them! 
The stuff really does get everywhere.  But what counts is that there were absolutely no damaged figures.

Once the loose packing was removed, I just gently twisted each figure off the sticky tape, and glued them on to the Litko stands I had waiting for them.  I did this one company (stand) at a time, which kept things orderly and myself sane.

Painted using Vallejo paints over a black undercoat, Mabuhay stresses that their figures are painted for the wargames table, and are meant to be viewed at that distance.  Nevertheless, the painting was very creditable for "wargames quality" miniatures, with lines being crisply painted and no slopping over.   Uniforms were painted a nice, dark blue that will go with our existing collections.

The only thing I did was to touch up the highlight the red and yellow pompoms of the elite companies. These colours were a little "lost", having been applied in one coat over black.  I wanted them to stand out a little more, and it was little effort just to go over them again with a stronger hue.

The metalwork on the muskets was a little too  'silvery' for my taste, so I also decided to give them a wash using a mix of matt varnish with a bit of black paint.

But that was just me being my usual anal self.  As is, the miniatures would be perfectly okay on the tabletop without the extra bother.
Of course the flags edges have since been touched up!
The GBM flags are a bit big for the plastic staffs that come with the Perry figures, so I had to trim them around the poles.  At this stage of the wars there was only one imperial eagle per regiment, so I also clipped off the eagle's wings on the standards for the 2nd and 3rd battalions, carving and filing the resulting lumps down into spear points as was appropriate.  The benefits of working with plastics!

Litko bases.  I gave each side a coat of varnish to protect them from Tokyo's humidity.
Here is the brigade as it looks so far, flags finished and bases ready for texturing, painting, and flocking. 
I also realized that these fellows will need a brigade commander.  Fortunately I already had a few Front Rank figures- a general and aide- to spare, so today I prepped them for painting.  

We've a game scheduled for July 15th, and these boys will be seeing the elephant then.  So it looks like some serious Black Powder action on the horizon!


Rosbif said...

Instant army!

What a good idea. Our club's armies are elderly Minifigs, French and British/Allied 1815 armies (though the French one went missing a long time ago). I'll keep this in mind if we ever decide to update.

David Dormvik said...

Very nice. I have a friend thats considering starting playing napoleonics properly but he has basically no time to paint, he likes to game if he has any free time. I have painted a single battalion for him but I will recommend him Mabuhay after reeding this. I knew of them but hadn't hear anyone using them yet.

paulalba said...

They look really nice Robert,
I think the sand kicking will stop soon!!!